Degodia clan in Mandera tables demands ahead of polls

Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi

Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi during a meeting on January 20, 2022. He said the Degodia clan is seeking a better political coalition with gubernatorial candidates in the August 9 elections.

Photo credit: Manase Otsialo | Nation Media Group

As political campaigns and coalition making period quickly sets in with the approach of the General Election in August, the Degodia clan in Mandera County has tabled its conditions to other clan that may be interested in forming a coalition.

Under the negotiated democracy, politics in Mandera is played along clan patterns and now the Degodia, the second largest clan in the county, is demanding more than just administrative positions.

During a consultative meeting that brought together both local and national leaders of the Degodia clan, it was announced that the clan will only support a gubernatorial candidate who will give it a deputy governor’s position.

“We have always supported our partners in the past without conditions but this time round we are looking for a team that will allow us more than what we have been given in the past,” Mandera North MP Bashir Abdullahi said.

According to Mr Abdullahi, any of the four gubernatorial candidates in Mandera is welcome to seek the support of the Degodia clan but must agree to their terms and conditions.

Coalition partner

“We are a team and a bloc, we are holding meetings with our clan elders to vet and agree on which candidate we can form a coalition with so that as a community we get what we want,” he said.

He insisted that the Degodia clan wants powers at the county government level, adding that this will only be achieved if the clan is given the deputy governor’s position.

Other political seats the Degodia clan is interested in include that of the woman representative, several county executive and chief officer positions.

All the four gubernatorial candidates in Mandera are drawn from the majority Garre clan and every team is burning its midnight oil in bid to win the rival clans’ votes.

Since the advent of devolution, the Garre clan has been in a political marriage with the Murule clan which had held the deputy governor’s position but with the fall of negotiated democracy, a new marriage is in the offing.

“Any gubernatorial candidate who will find a new coalition with the Degodia clan will definitely have an impact in the August 9 elections because most of these candidates are eyeing the Murule clan that has a divided voter base just like the Garre clan,” Mr Hussein Ali, a resident of Mandera,  said.

Mandera North seat

In the past, the Degodia has used the Mandera North parliamentary seat for political bargain but seems to have changed tact.

Both the Degodia and Garre clans reside in Mandera North Constituency and the latter has always left the MP’s position to the former.

The four gubernatorial candidates from the Garre clan are Mandera Senator Mohamud Maalim Mohamed, Mr Adan Mohamed Khalif, the county assembly Speaker, Education CAS Hassan Noor Hassan and Mr Faisal Abdirahaman Abass, a Mombasa-based businessman.

Governor Ali Roba, who in 2017 defied the negotiated democracy spirit, is rumoured to be pushing for Mr Adan Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary for East African Community and Regional Development, to succeed him.

Political might

Mr Roba acquired United Democratic Movement (UDM), a political party he is using to prove his political might in Mandera and, maybe, beyond.

“We are aware of the political scheming of Governor Roba. He will form a coalition with the Degodia clan and have his candidate of choice succeed him,” Mr Ali Gabow said.

Sources close to UDM revealed that Governor Roba could pick his close confidant Ms Suleikha Harun, the current county minister for Finance and Planning and to deputise Mohamed.

During the Degodia clan consultative meeting, Mr Sheikh Burhan, the clan’s national committee chairman, urged residents to turn out and register as voters in readiness for the August elections.

“We can only achieve all these through the ballot and we need to register so that we have a bargaining power,” he said.

Other leaders from the Degodia clan who were present included Mr Abdikadir Mohamed, a former constitutional affairs adviser to former president Mwai Kibaki, Mr Adow Harun, Mandera County Degodia Clan Chairman Adan Daudi, an aspirant Wajir East MP’s seat and a handful of MCAs.

Mr Burhan appealed for unity and peaceful coexistence as political temperatures rise in a county that has recorded inter-clan conflicts every political cycle.

“We have to remain united as a community and live in peace with our neighbours,” he said.

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